Montana Woman Suspected In 13-Month-Old Girl's Death Set To Change Plea
A Montana woman suspected in the death of a 13-month-old baby found last year in a dumpster will plead guilty, her lawyers confirmed. However, the deal between her and the prosecutors remained unknown to the public.
The woman, identified as Janelle Red Dog, wanted to plead guilty to second-degree murder. Initially, Red Dog faced the charges of first- and second-degree murder with felony child abuse and accessory after the fact. Her attorney, Hank Branom, filed a motion to change the plea due to an undescribed plea deal.
Authorities identified the victim as Kenzley Olson, who they found in a dumpster on an American Indian reservation. The person responsible for Olson's death stuffed her body inside a duffel bag.
Red Dog's change of plea came more than a year after the April 20, 2016 discovery of Olson's body. Red Dog called authorities on April 19 about Olson after she claimed the child went missing.
Cops ordered an Amber Alert in many states only to find out a day after that the body of the baby was in the area near the home of Red Dog. Police said Red Dog punched Olson to death. The autopsy results showed Olson died of blunt force trauma.
Reports linked the fact that there was methamphetamine crisis in the area. Law enforcement officials, however, never confirmed or denied whether methamphetamine took part in the death of Olson.
Meanwhile, Olson's mother Rhea Starr said in a statement last year that Olson's death was accidental. She noted that Red Dog took care of her daughter when no one else would take on the responsibility, People reported.
In Montana, the punishment for murder is death penalty. In 1995, the only method of death penalty used is through lethal injection. Before that, officials used hanging as a way of executing a criminal, FindLaw shared. The defense team, as well as the prosecutors on the case, did not reveal if that will still be the punishment since a plea deal exists.